Chamber News

IITD National Training Awards Logo

Waterford Chamber and Waterford Chamber Skillnet have both been shortlisted for IITD National Training Awards for their Regional Leaders Programme and Graduate Accelerator Programme respectively.

Waterford Chamber’s Regional Leaders Programme has been shortlisted in the category of “Excellence in Coaching and Mentoring”, while Waterford Chamber Skillnet’s Graduate Accelerator Programme will compete in the “Best Consultancy” category at the upcoming awards ceremony on April 24th at Killashee House Hotel.

Now in its twenty-second year, the IITD National Training Awards is recognised as the premier Learning & Development event for industry. The purpose of the IITD National Training Awards is to promote excellence, best practice and innovation in Training and Learning & Development, and to highlight the importance of this area in today’s business climate.

Speaking about the nomination, Gerald Hurley, CEO Waterford Chamber said: “The Regional Leaders Programme, now in its third year, has surpassed all our expectations in terms of delivery and engagement. We now have over 40 mentors giving of their time to develop the future leaders of our region, and we have seen 200 participants pass through the programme. We are proud to say that we have created a culture of mentoring and support among the business community through the Regional Leaders Programme. It has highlighted the importance of succession planning, supporting our employees and the benefits of having an external confidante to engage with. This nomination is a testament to the hard work put into developing and sustaining the programme but also to our partners Bausch + Lomb, Waterford Chamber Skillnet and Waterford Institute of Technology for their support and guidance.”

The Waterford Chamber Skillnet “Graduate Accelerator” programme showcases the successful collaboration and partnership between Waterford Chamber Skillnet, Bausch and Lomb and local industry including Sun Life Financial, Ernst & Young Waterford, Caratmundi, Sanofi, SE2, Jabil, Medite Smartply, and Dawn Meats in response to the learning needs of the emerging workforce in the South East. The programme is the perfect vehicle to develop and support a workforce of homegrown talent by offering practical training designed to ease new graduate recruits into their new working environment by giving them the skills necessary to become a valuable member of a larger corporate team.

Sara Mullally, Network Manager, Waterford Chamber Skillnet, said: “These awards are at the highest level in industry and we are delighted to be featured among the best in class. We take our remit as training providers extremely seriously and our core mission is to support employers in the region to grow and develop their staff to become strong professional, technical and subject matter experts in their chosen field. Waterford Chamber Skillnet is the largest Regional Network of the 70 Skillnet Ireland networks nationally, and in 2019 successfully facilitated 230 training events for 300 companies and 1,707 individuals. We are delighted to be nominated alongside Waterford Chamber and we will both certainly put our best foot forward for Waterford.”

Waterford 2040 Event Feb 2020Almost 50 leaders from Waterford’s industrial and commercial, government, educational and economic development agencies gathered for a Breakfast Briefing on Wednesday, 26th February 2020 to initiate a marketing and promotional campaign for Waterford. The initiative is as a result of collaboration between Waterford Chamber, Waterford Institute of Technology and Waterford City and County Council.

Over the past six months the agencies have created an economic baseline for the city and opportunity analysis out to 2040. This research will inform Waterford’s implementation plan to realise it’s critical role as a population centre and economic driver of growing importance and scale as outlined in the National Planning Framework ‘Project Ireland 2040’ and the National Development Plan 2018-2022.

Waterford Chamber CEO, Gerald Hurley said “For me today is about getting the message right and having an ambitious outlook for our city. Up until now, there has been conflicting economic baseline data for Waterford. This is the first time we have come together at a local level to obtain detailed and credible research and data that everyone can use to showcase Waterford as a City of Opportunity. The results of that research, combined with months of data gathering by RIKON and the information we collate here today, will give us an economic baseline for the city and present the ambitious growth opportunities that exist in Waterford. This can then be used by all of us as a tool to attract future investment and educate key influencers.”

Michael Walsh, Chief Executive of Waterford City and County Council in opening the meeting said “The National Planning Framework and Development Plan policy document re-assert our critical role and we need to identify as a city and region of opportunity where our quality of life is unique. This morning’s meeting focussed on the identification of the vision for Waterford and a number of key collaborations which will set Waterford as a place apart”. 

Prof Willie Donnelly, President of Waterford Institute of Technology concluded the meeting by saying “Waterford Institute of Technology offers an attractive opportunity as an educational leader of international repute and is proud to partner with Waterford Council and Waterford Chamber of Commerce to drive Waterford as the primary urban centre within the south east region.”

Fresh Look Waterford Retail Event

There was plenty food for thought following ‘Waterford Retail – A Fresh Look’, which saw a capacity crowd converge on the Granville Hotel for an early morning breakfast briefing to gain insights into customer behaviour in retail and data trends.

The event was hosted by Waterford Chamber, AIB Bank and Waterford Council, as part of Local Enterprise Week and was attended by leading retailers and service providers from across the city and county.

Opening the event, John McSweeney, AIB and Vice-President Waterford Chamber, offered a comprehensive overview of the current position in Waterford, enforcing the message that collaboration was key and asked for recommendations on how we should brand Waterford in terms of retail.

This was followed by an insightful presentation from Retail Excellence Ireland CEO, David Fitzsimons, who spoke of the 10 Pillars of the Future Store. He told the audience that consumers spend more in stores that are an authority on their product, embrace something different, offer hospitality and personality and sell product the way the customer wants it.

He also highlighted that stores that have a visual impact and stop you in your tracks from the outside in do much better in terms of footfall and sales generation, while the customer experience has to be to the fore in every offering.

Next up was Alan Makim, Head of Retail & Franchising with AIB Bank. Alan provided fascinating insights into consumer spending nationally but also specifically to Waterford. Interestingly, he outlined that 16% of retail spend is online in general, but when you break it down, only 3% of spending on groceries goes online. This is contrasted by the online spend in the clothing sector where 26% of the national spend goes through online channels with online clothing spend locally in Waterford slightly higher at 29%. In terms of retail leakage, while AIB figures show 69% of spend happens locally in Waterford, there is leakage going to other counties, namely Cork and Dublin the main areas of spend outside Waterford.

Following Alan’s presentation, both he and David joined a panel discussion, which also featured Steven Davy, Liquid Edge; Shana Chu, Styl.Wrap and Paul Dower, Waterford in Your Pocket, all of whom discussed the importance of data and technology for the future of retail. Shana spoke of how there are stores now all over the world where you cannot buy product – it’s all about the experience and then you order online.

Paul spoke of how important it is to brand Waterford properly and collectively as a business community we need to promote that message, while Steven said by using available data, you can make more informed decisions to benefit your business.

The event was closed out by Richie Walsh, Waterford Local Enterprise Office, who spoke of the availability of supports for the business community and the array of events which were scheduled for Local Enterprise Week.

This event is part of a strategic retail support plan which is currently being worked on by Waterford City & County Council and Waterford Chamber.

Waterford Chamber GE2020 Manifesto

In advance of General Election 2020, Waterford Chamber have outlined their priorities for Government on behalf of their members.

According to Gerald Hurley, Waterford Chamber CEO, “We are fully supportive of the Chambers Ireland Manifesto and its recommendations to Government therein. However, as a Regional Chamber, there are also a number of asks which must be considered and actioned if we are to develop our city in line with the ambitions identified in Project Ireland 2040.

“These are not new issues and as the voice of business for our members and the wider business community of Waterford, we are committed to keeping these items on the agenda until they are delivered. Whoever is going to represent us needs to ensure that these are priority issues for them at Government level. One of our recommendations is that Government appoint a new Minister for the Regions to safeguard our ambitions and those of the other regional cities. This has come about following discussions at the City Regions Ireland Forum where Chambers from the five cities have come together to lobby collectively to ensure the ambitions as laid out in Ireland Project 2040 are realised.”

Outlined below, in no particular order, are the key priorities for Waterford as the Capital of the South East Region on behalf of Waterford Chamber.


Appoint a Minister for the Regions to ensure that balanced regional development as outlined in Project Ireland 2040 is achieved, ensuring that government procurement procedures do not disproportionately favour of Dublin.


Delivery of infrastructure projects already promised, including North Quays, to ensure a sustainable, balanced economy. The development is critical for the future of Waterford, in terms of attracting talent, executive accommodation and quality of life.


The route analysis for proposed M20 (Cork to Limerick should be extended to include alternative routes, including the upgrading of the existing N24 from Waterford to Limerick, connecting the M8 to Limerick at Cahir. Obvious savings that will be achieved should be spent on other transport infrastructural requirements.


Delivery of Waterford Airport to maximise on international trade and the growing tourist market.


Prioritise the upgrading of WIT to University status in order to retain and attract talent, to create and sustain high quality jobs, to provide for lifelong learning requirements of the workforce and attract FDI.


Specialist resources and investment in the provision of acute care including 24/7 cardiac care, A& E and maternity services in Waterford University Hospital, which are vital to ensure that it can cater for both an ageing population as well as current and future population growth within the city and its regional hinterland.


Increased and sustained investment in childcare services and early education infrastructure so that quality childcare is affordable and accessible to working parents.

Chamber Netwalk

It’s the new year and Waterford Chamber is launching a new get healthy and active six week programme, ‘Chamber Netwalk’, to encourage the business community to get out and walk, while also using the opportunity to network and above all raise awareness about cardiac care.

Starting on Wednesday, 22nd January, Waterford Chamber will be organising lunch-time net-walking, which will be led each week by a motivation leader! Pop along to William Vincent Wallace Plaza for 1pm and get active for just 30 minutes as we enjoy a walk around the city.

Sadly, we are all too aware about the shortcomings in our cardiac care facilities in Waterford, so this programme, according to Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley, is all about prevention rather than cure.

“We are all guilty of leading sedentary lives during the working week, so we want to motivate the business community to get out and just take 30 minutes each Wednesday to look after themselves. Our cardiac healthcare here is a major concern for everyone and we hope these walks will also help raise awareness of the situation.”

Leading the first walk is former Waterford Senior hurler and owner of Inspiring Excellence Shane O’Sullivan. As a motivational executive coach, Shane believes in embracing micro-changes for long term gain.

“Taking the first steps are always the hardest but by even committing to a 30 minute walk once a week can only have a positive effect. The new year always brings its own motivation but by joining a walking group with friends and colleagues will encourage you all the more. Each leader will choose their own route and who knows, we may even uncover some hidden gems throughout the city along the way.”

Chamber Netwalk

Please register for Chamber Netwalk below. If you would like to be added to our email list, you can sign up by providing your email address below.

RLP Lunch Gerry Cahill

It is hard to be positive when you get the news that your business is closing its operation. However, one company, Roche Ireland Ltd. in ClareCastle, Co Clare, have succeeded in turning the devasting news into a positive experience which is full of hope.

As part of the Waterford Chamber Regional Leaders Programme, Managing Director of Roche Gerry Cahill addressed participants and mentors at their speaker lunch at WIT Arena with the theme “Exit with Pride & Ready for my Future”.

Introducing Gerry, Sara Mullally, Waterford Chamber Skillnet Network Manager, said: “As an authentic leader Gerry has led the Roche site for over six years, with the last three being the most challenging … and rewarding. It has involved a significant re-structuring, a large re-organsiation of the site, and a subsequent re-engagement of site personnel.”

Taking to the podium, Gerry outlined how Roche is a world leader in developing medicines for unmet medical needs but the Irish plant will officially cease operating in early 2020. When the announcement came three years ago, Gerry and the leadership team decided they wanted their colleagues to leave Roche with pride and a sense of opportunity. To do that Gerry said, “We needed to make time available to develop new skills”.

With a passion for life long learning, Gerry naturally brings a strong business acumen to his role as MD, but his principle focus and passion has been on supporting and developing people and is a firm believer that “a learning culture should result in better business results”.

This proved entirely true for the Roche workforce and through supporting the staff, offering training opportunities and developing their talent, in the three years since the closure announcement, they have had a record output, engagement has increased by 23%, safety and quality standards have increased, more than 50% of staff have green, black or master black belt, over 95% have LEAN training and 80% have moved roles.

Gerry also touched on bringing fun into the workplace by saying “Employee wellbeing is to the core to our programme”, with frequent team building days and community events. In fact, they completed 5,000 hours of wellbeing in the workplace in 2019.

Above all, Gerry said they have encouraged staff to have the confidence to look outside their current role and move forward with pride. He said this couldn’t have been done without the financial support of Roche and also Skillnet Ireland.

Concluding, he said: “I am delighted to share our journey and Leadership learnings with the Waterford Chamber Regional Leaders Programme and participants. Waterford Chamber is a great example of promoting learning and leadership development across many different sectors highlighting that we can learn from each other even if we are doing different work.”

Thanking Gerry, Sara finished the event by informing guests that Waterford Chamber Skillnet funding for training has almost doubled in six years due to demand from members.

“This budget will be to support growth for local industry through training and development of employees and the employability of jobseekers at the transferrable skills level. This should be seen as a significant investment in the region and it shows the commitment member companies have in the development of their personnel in Waterford and the surrounding region.”

The Waterford Chamber Regional Leaders Programme is supported by Waterford Chamber Skillnet, Bausch + Lomb and WIT. The next speaker event will be on April 29th with Edwin Rohan, Head of European and Latin America, Customer Success Acceleration at Google.

For more on the Regional Leaders programme please see or for training needs go to

40 AJ3I5982


Building a brighter future was the resounding message at the Waterford Chamber Annual Dinner on Friday night last in the Tower Hotel.

Two of Waterford’s most successful sons, Irish Ambassador of the US Dan Mulhall and John Treacy, CEO Sport Ireland, took to the podium in front of business leaders at the black tie event which was sponsored by Manguard Plus.

“I am delighted to be in Waterford for this year’s Chamber dinner. These annual gatherings represent an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of Waterford’s business community and to look at the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead”, said Ambassador Mulhall.

“As Ambassador to the United States, I am optimistic about opportunities that exist for our companies to expand their footprint in the US market and about our capacity to continue to attract significant, high-quality investment from the United States.  This will require a concerted effort on the part of our business community, supported by Government and our State Agencies with which I work very closely in promoting Ireland in the USA.”

Opening the event, Mayor of the City & County of Waterford, Cllr John Pratt said: “We are all here because we have all chosen to invest in Waterford.  We are building a vibrant and sustainable place, strongly leading the South East. We in Waterford are positioned to lead in terms of business development, economic growth and educational excellence. We have set an optimistic and ambitious vision for the future of Waterford. Our city and county welcomes all opportunities as we build a city where businesses can grow and develop and communities flourish.”

Reiterating the message, Waterford Chamber President Jonathan Earl said: “While Waterford Chamber is the voice of business, we all have a voice and a responsibility for what we say. We absolutely should and we are asking for equity, for something better.

“The Chamber has found its voice, one of many voices representing the diversity within Waterford, most speaking a consistent and confident message. But positivity is not enough, we need the kind of confidence that others are jealous of, that inspires others to choose Waterford.”

Taking to the podium, Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy said: “I love my county”. He went on to regale the audience with tales of his sporting glory, while also saying the Olympics “are looking good for Ireland”.

Concluding his address, John Treacy told the business community to “be ambitious, reach for the stars because Waterford is a fabulous city and a fabulous county.”

The Annual Dinner was sponsored by Manguard Plus and the drinks reception was sponsored by McDonald Dwyer Reddy & Byrne Insurances.


North Quays

Waterford Chamber welcomes the confirmation that Falcon Real Estate Development Ireland will lodge the application for Planning Permission to Waterford City & County Council for the North Quays development by the end of November.

Commenting on the announcement, Gerald Hurley, Waterford Chamber CEO, said: “There has been a lot of speculation and uncertainty around the North Quays in recent months, so following this announcement, it is encouraging that this can now be put to bed and we can move forward.

“We have always believed the North Quays development will be the catalyst for growth, particularly in terms of delivering on Project Ireland 2040. This is a €350 million investment which will create 2,300 full time roles with an additional 4,500 indirect jobs. It will cement Waterford’s position as Capital of the South East and the driver of economic growth and we are hopeful that there will be no further delays in the planning process, so we start date of quarter four of 2020 can be guaranteed.”

Annual Dinner 2019 Speakers

Two of Waterford’s famous sons, Irish Ambassador to the US Dan Mulhall and Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy are the guest speakers at this year’s Waterford Chamber Annual Dinner on Friday, November 8th in the Tower Hotel.

The Annual Dinner, sponsored by Manguard Plus, is the highlight of Waterford’s business calendar and promises again to be an excellent social event with a great opportunity for networking and client hospitality. The evening will begin at 7:30pm with a drinks reception sponsored by McDonald Dwyer Reddy & Byrne Insurances, followed by speeches and dinner.

As Waterford continues to make its mark on the global stage, Waterford Chamber President Jonathan Earl is delighted to be joined by two influential speakers for the business dinner.

“Waterford is on the cusp on something great right now and no matter the size of your business, we must all be aware that we are now operating in a global environment. Who more fitting to address this than our speakers, Ambassador Dan Mulhall and John Treacy. This year’s annual dinner will celebrate the global successes of our ex-patriots who are still flying the flag for Waterford around the globe.”

Speaking on behalf of sponsors Manguard Plus, Steve Coleman said “Following our acquisition by Manguard Plus, what began as a small local business, now has a far reaching national and international client base. We may be doing it from a hill in Tramore, but we are dealing with world-wide issues and we are to the forefront of security in that regard. Being associated with a prestigious event such as the Waterford Chamber Annual Dinner is the perfect opportunity for us to showcase our corporate offering to the right audience.”

Group tickets and individual tickets are available from Waterford Chamber at a cost of €100 incl VAT, available here. For more information contact Lynda Lawton on 051 311130.


Saudi Delegation Oct 2019

Welcoming the delegation to City Hall, Mayor of Waterford Cllr John Pratt said: “Waterford has many links with Saudi Arabia, not least of all the impending transformation of the North Quays with Falcon Real Estate Development and we hope to strength those links further today as we showcase the many great companies who are all integral to the economic development of Waterford as the Capital of the South East region.”

Following the Mayor’s opening address, some of Waterford’s leading business figures offered overview presentations on the various sectors of note in Waterford and the South East region, including Michael Quinn, Head of Economic Development, Waterford City & County Council; Frank O’Regan, Ireland South East; David Beirne, UPMC Whitfield; Louise Grubb, Q1 Scientific; Richard Hayes and Brian Foley, WIT and Rob Cass, Falcon Real Estate Development.

Following a networking lunch, the delegation were then escorted to two locations, Arblabs and workLAB, where local companies showcased their own innovations and ambitions for expansion.

Speaking after the visit, Niall Griffin, Project Crystal Company said: "The visit with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia business delegation was very successful on all fronts especially as we met with the decision makers and businesses who are first point contacts in their industry sectors. I was impressed with the overall mix and spread of industries and services they were keen to do business with and for the region it was a win win.”

Michael Flynn, Managing Director of FLI Group said: “It was very encouraging to meet with the Saudi business delegation to Waterford yesterday and to hear about their ambitious development plans for Saudi Arabia. Their 2030 vision and development plan to diversify the Saudi economy away from their dependence on oil will create many opportunities for Irish and other investors who see Saudi Arabia as a growth market. The FLI Group as an active member of the global Green Tech community will be actively appraising any opportunities where our technologies and services can be utilised.”

Meanwhile, Michael Malone of CMC Hygea said: “The event proved to be very beneficial for CMC Hygea and an all-round positive experience, which we were delighted to be part of.”

Commenting on the success of the visit, Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley said: “The level of business done throughout the day and in such a short space of time is hugely encouraging. The delegation were clear in their intent, they were here to develop links with Saudi Arabia and look at both the inward and outward investment opportunities. They were hugely impressed by the innovation and vision that was presented to them during the morning and afternoon sessions and have given us their assurances that they will be conducting a number of follow ups in the coming weeks. Waterford was the only city the delegation visited outside of Dublin and we were determined, with the support of Waterford City & County Council, to put the best foot forward in showcasing the opportunities for business in Waterford. We will continue to develop the relationship with Saudi Arabia and are confident there will be some very positive outcomes from the visit.”

18 Toys4Engineers

As Waterford and the South East’s reputation as a hub for innovation and technology continues to rise, so too does the expectation around Toys4Engineers, which took place on Thursday last in WIT Arena.

Having won Event of the Year at the Chambers Ireland Awards earlier this year, the team at Waterford Chamber, along with partners Waterford Institute of Technology and main sponsor Clem Jacob Hire, pulled out all the stops to improve the event again this year.

In addition to the Expo, which saw over 80 companies come from all over Ireland and the UK, new additions included CPD certified Masterclasses thanks to Waterford Chamber Skillnet, covering topics such as Energy Efficiency and Carbon Reduction with Crowley Carbon; Cobotics with Cobotics Skillnet; Better Planet Packaging with Smurfit Kappa and Additive Manufacturing with 3DWIT.

There was also a hugely successful Students Seminar, where a group of industry experts offered their thoughts on career paths, the opportunities in industry, internships and graduate programmes.

The morning began with a Networking Breakfast compliments of Bank of Ireland and was shortly followed by the new ‘Meet the Buyer’ segment, sponsored by Waterford Local Enterprise Office.

According to Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley, ‘Meet The Buyer’ was a revelation for all concerned. “Over the past number of years, we were aware of contracts that came out of Toys4Engineers and we really wanted to maximise the opportunity for our exhibitors, so we approached a number of the local multi-national companies to come on board and thankfully they were more than willing.

“The seven companies, including Bausch + Lomb, Nypro, Cartamundi, West Pharma, Ball, Dawn Meats and Sanofi, met with 10 ‘sellers’ over a two hour period and the feedback has been fantastic. It gave the exhibitors the opportunity to pitch their business for ten minutes and we have been told that there will be a significant number of follow-ups in the weeks and months ahead.

“Ultimately, our role in the Chamber is to support our members and help them grow their business and Meet the Buyer was the perfect opportunity to do just that. We will certainly look at growing the offering again next year.

“Networking, collaboration and sharing of knowledge is central to what Waterford Chamber is about. Toys4Engineers provides considerable opportunities for B2B networking, enabling companies to meet prospective customers, suppliers, collaborators or future employees.”

According to Dr Ken Thomas, Head of School of Engineering at WIT, Toys4Engineers confirms that Waterford and the wider region is increasingly a centre of excellence in terms of engineering, innovation and technology. He was hugely encouraged by the large attendance keen to consider a career within these sectors.

“It is great to see so many young people finding out more about the high-tech toys being developed and used by engineers to make a better world. We are all aware of the skills shortages and terrific job opportunities, so it is really encouraging to see the next generation having a high level of interest. Our Students Seminar showed just how many good quality lives roles and opportunities there are available right now and with a fantastic quality of life also on offer, Waterford and the South-East is a great choice for advancing your career and getting that perfect work life balance.”

Main sponsor Clem Jacob said it was the ‘perfect playground’ for him. “This is our second year sponsoring Toys4Engineers, it's a perfect opportunity to showcase all the latest technology and equipment which relates to the rental industry. We had a couple of very constructive Meet the Buyer meetings, had the opportunity to showcase our own toys and engage with so many of our customers and potential clients. It’s a great day out and something we are proud to be associated with.”

WLR’s Damien Tiernan was live from the event with thanks to Crystal Valley Tech, while Toys4Engineers was sponsored by Clem Jacob Hire and supported by the Engineering the South East, IDA, Enterprise Ireland, Waterford Local Enterprise Office, Waterford Chamber Skillnet and Cobotics Skillnet.


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What Our Members Say

"Waterford is a very attractive location for Foreign Direct Investment as it is a dynamic city which is very much open for business – the city has a proven track record of attracting investment from start-ups and expanding business, who are hugely supported by Waterford Chamber. The city, county and region offers a young, well educated workforce and is easily accessible for international visitors. Waterford’s quality of life for employees is exceptional as it blends elements of rich cultural heritage with a new and vibrant lifestyle – with new additions such as the Greenway further showcasing the county to not only locals, but visitors from all over Ireland and overseas. The Chamber has been a vital link in welcoming our companies into the local Business Community – helping them not only network, but also gain a sense of community and belonging."

Brendan McDonald, Regional Manager, South East Region, IDA



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